Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chaos At Guantanamo - Abuse Continues

Binyam Mohamed's claim that he was abused - after Obama took office - at Guanatanamo is apparently just part of a larger, more disturbing problem. Reuters:

"LONDON (Reuters) - Abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has worsened
sharply since President Barack Obama took office as prison guards 'get their
kicks in' before the camp is closed, according to a lawyer who represents

Abuses began to pick up in December after Obama was elected, human rights
lawyer Ahmed Ghappour told Reuters. He cited beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-forcefeeding detainees who are on hunger strike.

The Pentagon said on Monday that it had received renewed reports of
prisoner abuse during a recent review of conditions at Guantanamo, but had concluded that all prisoners were being kept in accordance with the Geneva Conventions."


"'Certainly in my experience there have been many, many more reported
incidents of abuse since the inauguration,' added Ghappour, who has visited
Guantanamo six times since late September and based his comments on his own
observations and conversations with both prisoners and guards.

He stressed the mistreatment did not appear to be directed from above,
but was an initiative undertaken by frustrated U.S. army and navy jailers on the
ground. It did not seem to be a reaction against the election of Obama, a
Democrat who has pledged to close the prison camp within a year, but rather a
realization that there was little time remaining before the last 241 detainees,
all Muslim, are released."


"Admiral Patrick Walsh, the review's author, acknowledged on Monday that reports of abuse had emerged but concluded all inmates were being treated in line with the Geneva Conventions.

'We heard allegations of abuse,' he said, asked if detainees had reported torture. 'And what we did at that point was to go back and investigate the allegation... What we found is that there were in some cases substantiated evidence where guards had misconduct, I think that would be the best way to put it.'

Walsh said his review looked at 20 allegations of abuse, 14 of which
were substantiated
, but he did not go into details. Generally he said the abuse
ranged from 'gestures, comments, disrespect' to 'preemptive use of pepper

Ghappour said he had spoken to army guards who, unsolicited, had
described the pleasure they took in abusing prisoners, whether interrupting
prayer or physical mistreatment. He said they appeared unconcerned about
potential repercussions.

He also saw evidence of guards pulling identity numbers off their
uniforms or switching them once they were on duty in order to make it more difficult for them to be identified

Ghappour said he had filed two complaints of serious detainee abuse
since December 22 but received no response from U.S. authorities. In one case
his client had his knee, shoulder and thumb dislocated by a group of guards, Ghappour said."


"Another area of concern was evidence that detainees were being abused on the
way to meetings with their lawyers -- sometimes so badly that they no longer
wanted to meet with counsel for fear of the beatings they would receive, he
'Some detainees are convinced they are going to be locked up there
forever, despite the promises to close the camp,' he said." [emphasis supplied]

So are we going to let the Guantanamo guards have a year to get their kicks in? Or are we going to provide a safer environment where they can visit lawyers without fear of bruality? How about guards disguising their identities? They'll get away with that and abuse?

GITMO is as bad as it's ever been. Spread the word.

h/t daring grace

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